Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Greenberg on Sid

This Washington Monthly review is pretty good and it makes a key point - Blumenthal was tarred for being partisan and having a close relationship to those in power. This standard is never applied to conservative journalists:

Then came the feeding frenzies of Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, Haircutgate, Troopergate, and other would-be scandals. Throughout these controversies, Blumenthal not only continued to write admiringly of Clinton, with whom he had developed a professional friendship over the last half-dozen years; he also chided his scandal-mad colleagues--as he had since 1988, when a prowling press forced Gary Hart from the presidential race for marital infidelity--for descending into sexual scandal-mongering. Appearing on "Nightline" in December 1993, he urged the news media to scrutinize those who were retailing the Clinton scandals. But given the mood of the moment, with Clinton on the ropes, Blumenthal notes, "This 'Nightline' appearance marked me as somehow having crossed the line from the media's side to the President's." Consigned to the doghouse of Washington society, he endured a cascade of ad hominem attacks.

These attacks were peculiar. After all, dozens of Washington journalists enjoy cozy contacts with presidents and reflect these friendships in their writing. Far from paying a price, they are celebrated. George Will consorted with Ronald Reagan, to no detriment to his career. David Frum cashiered his service as a speechwriter to the incumbent into a best-selling book, The Right Man--only to return to writing pro-Bush pieces. In a slightly different vein, Tony Snow was the liaison between anti-Clinton dirt peddlers Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg and now styles himself a disinterested newscaster for Fox.